Lionel Messi beats Virgil van Dijk to Ballon d’Or as Liverpool quartet crack top-10

Lionel Messi has this evening been named as the 2019 Ballon d’Or winner, marking the Argentine’s record-breaking 6th crown.

Ballon d’Or 2019

The Ballon d’Or ceremony, which sees the finest footballers from around the globe gather with respective hopes of being named the world’s best for the calendar year, took place tonight at the Theatre du Chatelet in Paris.

The holder of the prize before tonight’s gala was Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric.

Luka Modric

MOSCOW, RUSSIA – JULY 15: Luka Modric of Croatia receives the adidas Golden Ball award following the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final between France and Croatia at Luzhniki Stadium on July 15, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

It had long been known, though, that Modric would not be defending his crown this time around.

The announcement of the latest batch of 30 Ballon d’Or nominees back in October saw the Croatian midfielder omitted.

There were places, though, for Real Madrid teammates Karim Benzema and Eden Hazard.

European champions Liverpool, meanwhile, dominated the list of candidates, with a hefty 7 inclusions.

The 30 nominees to have been in the running for tonight’s award, in full, are showcased below:

Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

Bernardo Silva (Manchester City)

Son Heung-min (Tottenham)

Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)

Alisson (Liverpool)

Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus)

Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)

Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool)

Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)

Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona)

Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)

Dusan Tadic (Ajax)

Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)

Kylian Mbappe (Paris St-Germain)

Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

Donny van de Beek (Ajax)

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)

Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona)

Sadio Mane (Liverpool)

Lionel Messi (Barcelona)

Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)

Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City)

Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli)

Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona)

Mohammed Salah (Liverpool)

Eden Hazard (Real Madrid)

Marquinhos (Paris St-Germain)

Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)

Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid)

Messi crowned

It had long been widely-assumed, though, that this year’s prize was set to be handed to one of three players.

Lionel Messi, Virgil van Dijk and Cristiano Ronaldo long stood as the front-runners for the 2019 award.

Messi and van Dijk, meanwhile, were viewed as more likely to emerge victorious than Juventus man Ronaldo.

As such, it has since come as little surprise, on the back of another incredible individual year, which saw the Argentine rack up goals and assists for fun, and secure the domestic double with Barcelona, that Messi has been crowned the 2019 Ballon d’Or winner.

The award marks the attacker’s 6th, breaking his tie alongside Cristiano Ronaldo for the most successful player in the history of the ‘Golden Ball’:

Liverpool impress

Elsewhere, European champions Liverpool were rewarded for their sensational form under Jurgen Klopp with 4 representatives in the final top-10 standings, in the form of Virgil van Dijk (2nd), Sadio Mane (4th), Mohamed Salah (5th) and Alisson Becker (7th).

Shot-stopper Alisson was also crowned the first ever Yachine trophy winner, securing his status as the finest in his position on the planet:

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